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I Woke Up With a Coffee and a Pack of Cigarettes

Did you know that at some point in my life I used to smoke cigarettes? I also drank coffee.

When I was 16, I saw an ad on TV against cigarettes. It featured young people in their late teens telling their stories on how they tried smoking and quit because they realized it was not “cool”.

After seeing one of those ads, I decided to give smoking a try! I’m being honest, the ad had the opposite effect on me and aroused my curiosity, so I “borrowed” a cigarette from my dad’s pack and tried smoking for the first time.

I smoked for a year or two, and then one day realized on my own what it was doing to me, and flushed my last pack down the toilet and never touched cigarettes again.

I’m not sure what gets young people smoking these days, but for me it was the lure of doing something “forbidden”.

Now, I can’t stand the smell of cigarette, even if I’m outside and someone is smoking at a good distance from me. As long as I can smell it, it bothers me.

In North America, it’s become outlawed to smoke in literally every public place, but unfortunately in Europe smoking is much more common. And Europeans tend to smoke more and more often than Americans.

I’m traveling in Greece at the moment (I’m on the island of Santorini as I’m writing these lines!), but it’s so beautiful here that I don’t mind having to deal with an occasional smoker.

I still don’t understand what leads people to smoke, but I know WHY they keep smoking.

Nicotine is a stimulating drug, similar to caffeine in many ways (some complimenting each other).

You see a lot of people starting their day with a cup of coffee, while reaching for their pack of cigarettes.

For those who don’t drink coffee, there’s plenty of other options available for chemical stimulation.

There’s tea, black or green, or oolong.

There’s yerba maté.

There’s cacao (raw or cooked).

All of these products are stimulants. They all contain either caffeine or a substance that acts similar to caffeine on the body.

And make no mistake about it: caffeine is a drug, just like nicotine.

The stimulation we get from it is similar to the stimulation a horse would get being whipped constantly.

It’s not true energy, but chemical stimulation that produces a “fight or flight”, adrenaline kind of response in the body.

Getting energy from stimulants is like borrowing from the bank. Whatever energy you get, you have to pay back in recovery time, plus interest!

That’s why the most common cause of chronic fatigue or adrenal fatigue is the constant use of stimulants like coffee.

What’s a better alternative?

Exercise, fasting, and raw foods are the best “natural” stimulants.

Exercising literally releases “feel good” hormones throught your body that will create a feeling of wellbeing that will last for hours, without the negative consequences of stimulants.

Fasting, strangely, is a great way to “stimulate” your body naturally. Use it when you feel you need to give your digestion a break. A 24-hour fast is a great way to “reset” your system.

Raw foods, are not stimulating but they are not depressing either, like most cooked foods are. By eating raw, you feel a constant surge of natural energy, and don’t feel like taking a stimulant like coffee or raw cacao.

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Yours for health and energy,


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Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.